William Quantrill fought in the border war between Kansas and Missouri. It was a long and heated affair. He and his followers would make sure that the border-war would culminate in a bloody, massacre.
The rebellious Quantrill hailed from a small town in Kansas. Anti-slavery was the pulpit in which the “Ruffian” would launch terrorist-styled attacks into the states of the Union.
Not claiming any political side and definitely not a Southerner nor Northerner, Quantrill robbed and burned and pillaged.
Nothing more than a front was his anti-slavery position used as a disguise to kill and steal. He terrorized the entire Kansas countryside almost exclusively for the profits that could be gathered.
The massacre that was about to be launched and orchestrated by Quantrill’s Raiders was at hand. The year was 1863 and the Civil War was raging. With the armies of both nations fighting it out mostly in the south, Quantrill would use this diversion to sack the town of Lawrence, Kansas. The “Bushwhackers” rode into town unmatched and began the methodical slaying of every man they set eyes on.
Burning Lawrence to the ground and robbing from the banks, the Raiders slipped off into the night. This made front-page news across the entire country North and South and before long a bounty was placed upon the head of one of the most notorious fiends the war had known.
The primary reason that Quantrill and his men rode into Lawrence was to kill or capture Jim Lane. The Kansas native was a near mirror image of Quantrill minus the murdering and killing. The two hated each other. Jim Lane escaped and the epic battle never came to fruition.
Where were the Federal troops that were sent to protect the towns and farms of the Midwest? They were there; just not an issue for Quantrill for the Union was significantly outnumbered at Lawrence and could not put up much of a fight.
To confront the likes of Quantrill and his Raiders was to put your life into your own hands. Fighting the Rebels was life-threatening enough for most Union soldiers. The size and ferociousness of Quantrill’s Raiders would take at least 1,000 seasoned troops to effectively fight. The victory could not be assured without a sizable force and those forces were busy on the fronts of the Civil War. A perfect time for raiders and hooligans especially one so organized and deadly as Quantrill’s.
In May 10th 1865 Quantrill and the dozen or so men he had left were ambushed by Union troops in Kentucky. Quantrill was shot and mortally wounded. He died on June 6th 1865.